Moves by Russia and China should give executives pause

Doing business with a dictatorial government is akin to letting a pet tiger sleep at the foot of your bed. Most nightsit’s OK. Until it isn’t.

Foreign-owned businesses working in Russia and China have heard the sounds of a stomach grumbling in the darkness, reminding them that despite appearances, the rule of law in those countries still bends to the whims of leaders who are not afraid to take what they want. Those hoping to make money in Russia and China should not allow assurances about globalization and the importance of international trade make them complacent about geopolitical risk.

Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea and is threatening to take another province as part of his vision of Slavic manifest destiny. His reaction to the first round of international sanctions has been to cut off foreign food imports and to demand greater self-sufficiency from his own people, proving that patriotism is the final refuge of scoundrels.

Putin's decision to invade Ukraine and China's unilateral drilling in Vietnamese waters once again disprove Thomas Friedman's theory that countries with McDonald's restaurants don't invade one another.
September 16, 2014
Houston Chronicle